Bellis perennials (Bellis perennis) or English Daisies are one of spring’s delightful perennial flowers for the garden. They pop up almost all over the perennial garden (buy them once and watch them self-sow) if you have decent garden soil. They do not grow well in clay soils so do save your money if you have mostly clay. Note: this plant can become a bit of a weed if not controlled (a delightful weed but still…)
Flowering only 4 to 6 inches tall in full sun or light shade, this is the essential early spring blooming plant.
Note that it is a biennial. It grows in its first year and then flowers in its second. Once flowered, the mother plant sets copious amounts of seed and then dies. It is the seed that will continue developing in your garden so do not weed out the tiny seedlings.
Cheaply purchased at garden centers, the plants come in a wide range of colours on the red-white side of the colour wheel, ranging from reds and pinks through to whites with a few salmons thrown in for good measure.
The trick to keeping Bellis perennis blooming for a very long time (well into the summer) is to regularly remove the fading flowers. When the plant stops producing large amounts of new flowers, allow the remaining ones to set seed for next year’s plant production.
Caution: Where this plant is happy, it can become a weed – spreading into lawns and nearby gardens
Newer Varieties of English Daisy
‘Galaxy Mix’ This is a very large flowering, semi-double form with either white, pink and red petals around a central yellowish eye.
’Habernera White with Red Tips’ Very large flowers of white but the petal tips are flecked with red or deep pink. The petals are also slightly curled making them one of the most attractive forms.
’Monstrosa’ As you might expect, the flowers on this variety are huge. Measuring an inch or more across, the flowers come in the white, pink and red range.
’Tasso Pink’ is the opposite of ‘Monstrosa’. This variety has tons of tiny little pom-pom button flowers that cover the surface of the plant. Very attractive in pink!
’Tasso Red’, ‘Tasso Strawberries and Cream’, and ‘Tasso White’ are identical in flower form and growth habit. The only difference is the flower colour and this should be evident from the names. ‘Tasso Strawberries and Cream’ is a pink flower with a darker red centre.
Bellis perennis is a wonderful cheerful plant for spring bedding, particularly in milder garden regions. In the very cold of zone 4 and down, they do not particularly survive well. In those regions, you can treat them as an annual flower and keep well deadheaded.
Note that Bellis perennis is a great container plant as well as the general garden.